Masa and Black Bean Cakes with Spicy Butternut Squash



Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as an entrée

Appears in

Traditionally, bocoles are made with cornmeal mixed with lard and stuffed with marinated meat, potatoes, pork, etc. However, this version is ideal for vegetarians and anyone looking for a satisfying dish that is also gluten-free. In Oaxaca, they are commonly made with blue cornmeal and we do that in the restaurant. I love the nutty, corn flavor set against the soft, hot interiors. Both the mole sauce and refried beans may be made days ahead.


  • 2 cups Mole Coloradito, heated
  • 2 cups My Refried Beans
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus oil for frying
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  • 3 jalapeños, seeds and membranes removed, if desired, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • Salt


  • 2 pounds (about 4 cups) masa harina
  • 1 cup lard
  • ½ cup chicken or vegetable stock, or more as needed
  • 1 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ pound soft goat cheese, crumbled



  1. Prepare the Mole Coloradito and My Refried Beans.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté for 1 minute. Add the butternut squash, jalapeño, cumin, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is completely tender, 10 to 15 minutes; season to taste with salt.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the masa. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the masa harina and lard and beat until light. Add the stock and salt and beat until you have a smooth dough. Add the refried beans, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon of salt and mix until well blended. Add more salt, if needed. Roll golf ball–sized balls of dough, making a well in each with your thumb; fill each with a tablespoon of squash and a teaspoon of goat cheese.
  4. Pat the balls between your hands into a pancake about ¼ inch thick and 2 inches in diameter. Wipe out the skillet, and add enough oil to the skillet to measure 1 inch deep; heat over medium-high heat to a temperature of 375°F on an instant-read thermometer. Fry the cakes until brown on the outside and cooked but still soft on the inside, about 3 or 4 minutes, turning once.
  5. On individual taco plates, serve 3 bocoles over Mole Coloradito, topped with watercress sprigs and jicama. Drizzle with Spiced Crema and sprinkle with Toasted Pepitas.